Regarding Andrew's absence, I had to scramble a bit, but managed to put an ad hoc group together, with Ninah of Big City Orchestra/UB Radio and Shannon of Eurostache. We dubbed ourselves the UB Alumni Asylum, as UB Radio Salon was the one common thread that we all seemed to share. Ninah played a mic'd cymbal, and Shannon played some digitally processed flute sounds and percussion. I stuck mostly to the waterphone. It was definitely a set that in which I flew blind. I can't recall what we sounded like, or even if my contact mics were working. Shannon and Ninah were both audible; they totally saved the day for me. Their perceptive, intuitive playing was really nice to hear. Noise trailblazer Monte Cazazza gave me a sweet compliment, so maybe, just maybe we did alright. Ninah mentioned that we got some cool, circular rhythms going, and Shannon seemed pleased. Perhaps there will be a recording forthcoming from Norcal Noise. Anyway, major thanks to Shannon and Ninah for helping a brother out.
Ear Spray's set was pretty unique for us, in that Carlos was not a part of it, due to conflicting plans. Ann was debuting her newfound passion, electric cello! I played a mic'd cymbal by itself. Things went alright to start, with some decent interaction between cello and cymbal. I must confess that I lost my way after a bit, and proceeded to jump out into the audience while crashing the cymbal on the floor. Instant karma for me, though, as this action destroyed one of my contact mics. I ended the set sitting in a chair with sweat rolling into my eyes and nothing to play. Ann sounded at her best at this point, though. Kind of a bust for me; hopefully Ann had a good time.
A few days before Noisefest, Lob of Instagon contacted me and some other players with a request to play a set of percussive, scraping, Industrial sounds to accompany his bass for Instagon #738. I readily agreed, and was glad to have done so. Instagon's set was truly satisfying, as the percussion work four players melded really nicely with the bass, guitar, and synth sounds. That set had the kind of clang and whirl that I so enjoy from Industrial music, that junkyard, steel mill aesthetic. I had a blast scraping the mic'd cymbal (yet again!) with a small metallic hammer and rolling a large chain across its edges. This one seemed to deliver the goods, satisfyingly rowdy and energetic.
Below: UB Alumni Asylum contemplate the sounds; Ear Spray on the stage
As usual, it was tremendous fun to play Norcal Noisefest. I always have a good time doing so. I really had to roll with things as the event unfolded in unplanned ways, but, that's just part and parcel of being in the Improvising Music scene. One just has to take things as they come.
Many thanks to Andrew, Lob, Ninah, and Shannon. Hopefully I'll find a way to get on next year's bill!
Below: Ear Spray video, courtesy of Ann O'Rourke